Tax breaks for Ford, taxes for private schools, radio host dies: Your Wednesday morning briefing

The lobby of the long-abandoned Michigan Central Station. Photo by Steve Neavling

“Morning Briefing” is a new feature in Motor City Muckraker to keep you informed as we add award-winning reporters to our independent newsroom that soon will be a nonprofit watchdog. Your donations are key to our ability to produce more vigorous, meaningful, nonpartisan journalism at a time when news rooms are cutting back on impactful, investigative stories.

These are the top stories you’re waking up to:

Detroit City Council approves $104M in tax breaks to Ford

As the cash-strapped city of Detroit struggles to provide basic services like police protection, the city council approved $104 million in tax breaks to help Ford Motor Co. revive the long-abandoned Michigan Central Station.

Under the deal, Ford won’t have to pay city corporate income and utility taxes.

The automaker, which has billions of dollars of cash on hand, plans to transform the train station and adjacent Detroit schools book depository building into a 5,000-worker campus.

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Legendary radio host Mike Clark dies

Radio host Mike Clark

Legendary radio host Mike Clark of “The Drew and Mike Show” died in his sleep Monday night.

He was 63.

Although Clark had struggled with medical issues over the past few years, his death shocked friends and family.

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“The Drew and Mike Show” aired on WRIF (101.1 FM) and was often the top-rated radio show in metro Detroit.

“I can’t believe I’m not going to hear his laugh anymore,” his host, Drew Lane, told The Detroit News. “He had an incredible, incredible laugh. And he was very self-deprecating. The biggest laugh was always when he shared something from his own life like when he drove out of his garage with the garage door down.” 

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Appeals Court: Private schools can receive state taxes

Private schools can receive state tax dollars, the Michigan appeals court ruled Tuesday, handing charter supporters a major victory.

The court ruled that the state can give tax dollars to private schools to help them comply with health and safety rules.

The American Civil Liberties Union argued that the more than $2 million in taxes for inspections, fire drills and other state requirements violates the Michigan Constitution.

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.